Walmart issues urgent recall after two people died, including a child

Walmart recalled an air freshener on Oct. 22 2021 after finding the product contained a “rare and dangerous” bacteria linked to two deaths.
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Walmart, in attempts to ensure “safety as a top priority” at the company, is warning customers of an air freshener that was recalled a few days ago that could’ve caused two deaths, including a child. 

“We are committed to providing safe, high-quality products to our customers,” the company said in a press release Tuesday. “Our sympathies go out to the four families that have been impacted by this situation. Customer safety is always a top priority and as part of the recall we proactively put plans in action to notify customers and prevent further product sales while federal agencies continue their investigation.”

The air freshener, Better Homes & Gardens Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray with Gemstones, was recalled due to the possible presence of a rare and dangerous bacteria that can prove to be fatal in some instances on Oct. 22 by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to a CPSC press release.

The product numbers subject to the recall reads as follows:

  • 84140411420 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Lavender & Chamomile
  • 84140411421 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Lemon and Mandarin
  • 84140411422 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Lavender
  • 84140411423 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Peppermint
  • 84140411424 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Lime & Eucalyptus
  • 84140411425 Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Gem Room Spray Sandalwood and Vanilla

The bacteria found in the products is Burkholderia pseudomallei which causes melioidosis. Meliodosis is also known as Whitmore’s disease and symptoms are wide-ranging and can include fever, ulcers, cough, chest pain, fever, headache, respiratory issues, stomach pain, joint pain, brain infection and seizures, according to the CDC.

The agency has been investigating a cluster of four cases of melioidosis in the U.S., including the two deaths. Cases were reported in Kansas, Minnesota, Texas and Georgia.

In regards to the investigations, the CPSC writes: 

“CDC has been investigating a cluster of four confirmed cases of melioidosis including two deaths in the U.S. Though the source of these four infections has not been confirmed by CDC, the bottle with the same type of bacteria was found in the home of one of the melioidosis decedents.”

Walmart said it pulled the spray from shelves in about 55 stores in 18 states as soon as the company learned of the issue.

A full list of the stores that were selling the product can be found here, with one being in nearby Mount Pleasant.

What to do if you bought the recalled product:

Walmart recalled roughly 3,900 bottles of the product and is asking customers who purchased the room spray since February to stop using it immediately and follow recommendations in the voluntary Recall Notice for securing and returning the product to a Walmart store. This includes double bagging the bottle in clean, clear zip-top resealable bags and placing it in a small cardboard box. Walmart will provide a full refund and is offering a $20 gift card for any inconvenience.

For customers who purchased the product online, Walmart emailed each of them letters on Oct. 22, alerting them of the recall and indicating company records reflected they may have purchased one of six scents since February 2021 that were recalled.

On Monday, after extensive research to identify contact information, Walmart also emailed more than 2,000 customers who purchased the product at one of its approximately 55 stores that sold it as part of the pilot program. In addition, the company is sending letters to another 263 customers with no email address on record and placing calls to a small number of other customers with no available email or physical address, according to the company’s press release

Written by Angela Mulka

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